Safari Tabs

Safari Tabs, originally uploaded by Michael A. Lowry.

Safari 4 brought tabs-on-top to a mainstream browser, borrowing the appearance, if not the underlying architecture, of Google’s Chrome browser.

Placing the tabs above the address bar makes sense, because the address is subordinate to and dependent on which tab happens to be frontmost. However, the bookmarks bar is definitely not content specific to any tab; therefore, it belongs above the tabs.

There are other problems too. Because there is no title bar that represents the whole Safari window, it’s hard to move the window easily; one must be careful not to click on a tab’s close box or move widget. The reverse is also true: it’s difficult to click a tab without accidentally moving the window. If the mouse is moved even a tiny distance while the button is depressed, Safari assumes one is trying to move the whole window.

The above mock-up shows what Safari might look like if the window title bar and bookmarks bar were placed above the tabs.

One could argue that the toolbar buttons and the search box don’t belong below the tabs because, like the bookmarks bar, these controls do not represent content that is specific to any single tab. However, the address field needn’t take up the entire width of the window, so the spaces to the right and left of this field seem like a good place for these controls from a purely aesthetic perspective. Plus, moving them elsewhere would mean taking up even more screen real estate, and taking away from the simplicity and balance of the design.

I am glad to see Apple experimenting with new user interface paradigms, at least in beta versions of its software. Let’s hope the experts at the company figure out a way to solve the problems new design without sacrificing its elegance.

My new bed

_MAL8928, originally uploaded by Michael A. Lowry.

A couple of weeks ago I went to IKEA and bought a new bed. I got it for less than half list price, ’cause the packaging was a bit scuffed up and one corner of the mattress was a bit dirty. I don't have a before photo with which to juxtapose this one; but trust me—the after one is much nicer.

My bedroom is located just underneath the dining room, on the Northeast corner of the house. The windows face the street and garden. I’m looking forward to springtime, when the flowers start to bloom!


Fun appetizers with mozzarella and basil

_MAL1239.jpg, originally uploaded by Michael A. Lowry.

Late last summer, I made a nice Caprese salad for Janaki when she came over for a visit. I took a photo but didn’t get around to posting it until yesterday. When I’m in Italy, Caprese salad is the yardstick I use to gauge the priciness of a restaurant. The ingredients of the salad are readily available and relatively inexpensive, and the preparation is straightforward and quick; so the price a restaurant charges for the dish largely represents the markup—not the cost of the food per se, but what you must pay for the privilege of dining at that particular establishment.

The distribution of prices is broad. I’ve seen Insalata Caprese listed on menus in Rome for as little as 5€, and as much as 20€.

_MAL9505.jpg, originally uploaded by Michael A. Lowry.

Another great mozzarella-based appetizer substitutes dried ham for the tomato. Just take thumb tip-sized pieces of the cheese and roll them up together with couple of basil leaves in thin strips of the ham. Use air-dried or smoked ham, according to your preference. Prosciutto and Westphalia work fine. Hold the rolls together by piercing each one with a cocktail toothpick. Serve them with a small bowl of olive oil seasoned with salt, black pepper, and optionally rosemary or oregano. Enjoy!


Biking again, at last!

On Sunday, the snowfall of the previous night continued untill well after noon. After several cups of coffee, two bowls of Gordana’s excellent soup, and much deliberation, I finally got my ass in gear and made preparations for some physical exercise. I put the Nokian studded tires I first used last winter on my StumpJumper and headed out into the snow. With my new Giro G10 ski helmet on my head, I rode up Höhestrasse and into the forest above Zollikon, cutting across and up the hill toward the South. My start was initially cut short by a twisted chain, but that was quickly remedied by a bit of work with two pairs of pliers. After about twenty minutes, I had reached my goal: the bath house in Zumikon. There I spent the next hour warming up (and cooling down again) in the bath’s various saunas and its steam bath. At one point, I even indulged in a bit of snow-rolling, a tradition I first practied in Åre a few winters ago. The snow was light and fluffy, and after a stint in the sauna I barely noticed the cold. When at last I coasted downhill toward home, I felt like a pice of cooked pasta. That’s what saunas are for! All in all, I spent less than an hour on my bike this day. But at least the ride uphill through the snow was a workout; and it’s a step in the right direction. Before long the snow will have melted and it’ll be time for day-long treks further afield.

Party at Kubilay’s place

_MAL8890, originally uploaded by Michael A. Lowry.

On Saturday night I drove down to Horgen on the West side of the lake. It had begun to rain and the streets were slick and shiny. It was cold too, and as I neared Horgen the rain turned to snow. Kubilay's place is near the train station in a modern block of flats. He fixed lots of food including little kebab-like meat snacks, grilled Halloumi cheese, and Turkish candies flavored with pistachios and rosewater. It was a fun group of folks and a good time was had by all. Naturally, I brought my camera and took a bunch of photos of the fun. I gave several folks a ride back up to the city around midnight and by this time the snow was falling in thick, wet clumps. The party apparently continued somewhere in the city, but I was feeling a bit tired, so I dropped the others off and returned home early.


Shrubbery gig on Sihlquai

_MAL8841, originally uploaded by Michael A. Lowry.

Wednesday night I joined some ZRL colleagues downtown to watch Shrubbery, a band whose members include a couple of Googlers and one of my colleagues, Jan. I enjoyed the performance, and had fun watching this normally staid researcher rock out! Several photos of the gig are online for your enjoyment.


A quick ferry ride across the lake

_MAL8762, originally uploaded by Michael A. Lowry.

This morning I gave Gordana a ride to an appointment in Meilen on my way to work. I continued to work by way of the car ferry that travels every 10 minutes between Meilen and Horgen on the other side of the lake. From there, it's a short drive back up the lake to Rüschlikon. I snapped a few photos from the ferry as we motored across the water. It was a beautiful morning as you can see!